BUTTERWORTH: Forty-eight foreign women believed to be human trafficking victims have been rescued from an entertainment centre in Perai where they were employed as guest relations officer.
The Immigration Department together with the Anti-Human Trafficking and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Unit acting on intelligence conducted a surveillance for several weeks on the premises.
A team comprising officers and personnel from Penang Immigration and Putrajaya Immigration Headquarters raided the entertainment centre at 12.50 am this morning.
Penang Immigration assistant director Abdul Rahman Hassan said the women comprised 19 Chinese nationals and 29 Vietnamese aged between 20 and 30.
They are believed to have been recruited by a human trafficking and migrant smuggling syndicate before being forced to work at the centre, he said.
He said investigations found that the victims entered Malaysia on a social visit pass and did not possess any work permit.
According to Abdul Rahman, the rescued victims were later brought to the Seberang Jaya Immigration office for documentation before being sent to the Juru detention depot for further investigation.
He said the department was tracking down the syndicate believed to be masterminded by locals.